Spiced Honey Roast Figs with Amaretti Mascarpone

Roasted Figs with Amaretti MascarponeAs a little girl, a white wedding isn’t something I thought about that much. Other than the few obligatory years of being anti-boys, I was pretty sure I wanted to get married – to have the happiness my parents had and create and brand new family of my own – but I hadn’t dreamed of the venue, the dress and every detail of the big day in the way so many small girls do.

I didn’t really dream about the man I’d marry either. Of course I hoped for someone good looking and funny, caring and all the attributes that almost everyone wants, but there wasn’t a specific agenda, criteria to meet or checklists made. I suppose I wanted to see what would happen, where life would take me and what the future might hold. Continue reading

Lemon, Almond & Blackberry Slice

lemon meringue

Almond dacquoise & meringue are layered with lemon curd cream & toasted nuts

A major occupational hazard of baking is the mess.

If you’ve ever left sticky fingerprints on a work surface, mistakenly smeared chocolate behind your ear, walked flour footprints across the kitchen or somehow managed to turn every pan and utensil you own into a pile of washing up, you’ll know what I mean.

My tiny little space for baking might be more hazardous than most. Because it’s so small, every cupboard in the kitchen is crammed to its limit, herbs and spices jostling for space with packets of pulses and only one dedicated place to keep all my baking ingredients. It’s not that I haven’t tried to encroach on other cupboards, but after storing chocolate in the same place as curry powder resulted in it taking on a strangely spicy flavour, I’ve returned to a single space to store my flour, sugar, chocolate, nuts and syrups for fear of cross contamination. Continue reading

Tiramisu with Vin Santo

tiramisu with vin santo

Rich, creamy & laced with chocolate & vin santo: the ultimate Italian pudding

If you’ve never eaten a seriously good tiramisu, you’ve not really lived.

Unfortunately if you’ve eaten a seriously bad one, you’re not alone.

Despite, or perhaps because of, its reputation for being delicious, Italian food is something that continually suffers from major misrepresentation around the world. But rather than focusing on flabby pizza or pre-shaved parmesan – don’t get me started on savoury, I could rant all day – I’m turning my attention today to all things sweet (surprise, surprise). Continue reading

Lemon Curd & Mascarpone Cream Tart

lemon_cream_tart

Crisp pastry, a sharp layer of lemon & pillows of light mascarpone cream

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better – Samuel Beckett

I think that awful moment when a recipe goes wrong is one that we can all relate to. While some people may have many more of these moments than others, whether you’re working in a Michelin starred restaurant or a Bridget Jones-type sheepishly scooping string from a blue soup, you’ll have experienced the horror of a major recipe fail in one way or another. Be it an overflowing tart tin, a sunken cake, a loaf left in the oven too long or mistakenly substituting sugar with salt, everyone is subject to these kitchen mishaps once in a while. Not everyone admits to them, of course, but they definitely do happen.

While no-one wants their cooking to be a catalogue of complete disasters, failure isn’t always such a bad thing. Experimentation – whether planned or otherwise – leads to innovation, and some of the world’s favourite foods can be attributed to the fortuitous mistakes of their creators – just think of Ruth Wakefield’s discovery of the chocolate chip cookie when pieces of chocolate in her Butter Drop Dos failed to melt properly. A world without the chocolate chip cookie would be a very sad place indeed. Continue reading